By Julie Hairston
Five candidates so far have announced for the District 1 seat on the Atlanta City Council to succeed Councilperson Carla Smith, who is not seeking reelection. The candidates offer a diverse range of experience and all five have participated in addressing local issues of concern to the residents of District 1. Below, in alphabetical order, is a summary of the candidates’ backgrounds, experience and stated campaign focus. The information was gleaned from each of their campaign websites.
Clarence Blalock is a resident of Benteen Park. He holds a BA in Geography and MA with concentration in Environmental Science from Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL. Since 2019, he has been self-employed with South Avenue Consulting focused on GIS mapping, and he has 10 years’ experience consulting with local governments, including Smyrna, Covington and Forest Park. Among his engagement with local issues is Beltline Train Now!, Friends of East Atlanta Library, Grant Park Neighborhood Association, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, NPU-W, Trees Atlanta, and Save the Old Prison Farm. His central campaign focus is the need to “preserve and protect our tree canopy, watershed, and green space while maintaining the quality of life and growth of our city.” His campaign website can be found at www.clarenceforatlanta.com.
Nathan Clubb lives in Ormewood Park with his family. He holds a BA from Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, and an MA in Public Administration from American University, Washington, D.C. Since 2015, he has worked for the State of Georgia as a principal analyst responsible for government accountability, transparency, and effectiveness. He worked in communications for the U.S. Department of Defense from 2011 to 2014. Clubb served as president of South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development (SAND) from 2017 to 2020 and serves as the NPU-W representative as well as on the transportation committee. He co-founded the Bill Kennedy Way Working Group and the South Moreland Avenue Working Group, advocated for the renaming of Confederate Avenue to United Avenue, and advocated to fund a feasibility study for the Southeast PATH Trail. His campaign focus is an equity-driven city budget, expansion of safe, affordable housing, transportation that prioritizes Atlanta residents, re-imagined public safety, effective public engagement processes, and expanded green space access. His campaign website is www.nathanclubb.com.
Russell Hopson graduated summa cum laude from Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He is a native of Hampton, VA, but has lived in South Atlanta for 20 years in a home he built and has worked in sales for Amedisys Home Health Care since 2013. He has also worked at Guardian Home care and as a radio show host and innovator at Jumpboy. Hopson chaired NPU-Y for four years and is a past president of South Atlanta Civic League. He is a founding member of Carver Neighborhood Market and serves on the advisory board of Focused Community Strategies (FCS), a mentor for youth programs. His campaign is focused on “true equity through scalable growth, greater connectivity between neighborhoods, more consciously applied public safety, improved educational opportunities, and safe and affordable living for a variety of income levels.” His campaign website is www.russellfordistrict1.com.
An English major, Kelly-Jeanne Lee has lived with her family in Lakewood Heights for the past five years. She lived previously in Grant Park and East Atlanta. Since 2016, she has been with Teach for America, and was formerly a Girl Scout Camp Director, as well as running an after-school program for at-risk youth. Concerns about her community prompted her to become pro-active through her council campaign. Her campaign focus is to increase ownership of safe and affordable housing, invest in community including food security, infrastructure, community-based safety programs, and support for small business. Her campaign website is www.KJL4ATL.com.
Jason Winston grew up in West Point, Georgia, and holds a BS in Finance and Marketing from Georgia State University in Atlanta as well as an MS from the GSU Robinson College of Business. He lives with his family in Grant Park. Winston is the founder and managing director of Winston Media Group, a multi-faceted marketing consulting business. Winston also serves as an instructor in social media marketing at GSU. He joined the Grant Park Conservancy in 2015 and co-chaired the Summer Shade Festival in 2016-2017. He co-chaired the Grant Park Conservancy Board of Directors 2018-2020 and served on the Park Pride Visioning Committee for Grant Park. Winston also serves as a volunteer coach at the Warren Boys & Girls Club, an outreach engagement he has participated in since 2007. His campaign focus is parks and green space, crime, transportation, and housing inequality. Winston’s campaign website is www.jasonwinston.com.